Day One – The Embarkation

22 06 2008

I’m posting only a few of my more favorite photos here, but it you want to see more, go to my Photos page. No story part there, just the photos and captions.

Getting on the ship was amazingly simpler than I thought it was going to be. Carnival had told me not arrive earlier than 12:30, due to the fact that boarding wouldn’t begin until 1pm. Well, me being hard headed to be one of the first ones on the ship, I didn’t let that stop me, and got there around 11:30am.

So I anticipated having to wait a while.

Not so! I was ushered to the VIP line, brought to the head of the security line (where there were already about 70 people in line to check-in), given my keys and escorted onto the ship.

Okay, so maybe I need to backup here. Just FYI – I had a penthouse suite onboard ship, and going first-class ALWAYS has benefits. Like check-in procedures, amenities in the stateroom, dining privileges, and more….

While other people had to wait to get into their staterooms, my steward met me at the gangway, carried my bags to the stateroom, and told me to let him know if there was anything else I needed. After unpacking for a few minutes, I went downstairs to get something to drink, and I almost started laughing at some of the people coming aboard. Some of these families were carrying massive suitcases, 3-4 a person. Me, I only brought 3 bags. One for my clothes (and that thing rolled…) my purse, and the bag that had my laptop and camera stuff in it. So not too much stuff. But then again, this wasn’t my first cruise. I know what I’ll wear and what I need, so I don’t need to pack much for a 7-day cruise.

I started my adventure by exploring the ship. Up and Down, bow to stern, port to starboard. Interesting ship. Gaudy interior. The name was the Carnival Legend, and the entire ship is based off of legends of the English, Greek, Italian, Norse and Chinese. Mostly English and Greek though… Loads of King Arthur stuff. Not tastefully done, either. It was like something out of the 80’s, where more can be too much! Carnival was definitely trying to impress, and missed the mark by a mile! Look at the gallery and you’ll find some photos of the inside… Okay, so they overdid it. Nice idea, but this was definitely an instance where less would have been more.

I had a nice view of the Port of Tampa while people were boarding. Interesting to see the tops of the buildings that you usually go in!

Channelside District

Tampa Shipyard

Anyways, around 5pm we undocked and headed out through Tampa Bay to head into the Gulf. Almost 2 hours later, those of us on the top deck had quite a sight. The Sunshine Skyway bridge. And the ship cleared it by 5 feet. Yep. Not a typo. 5 feet! But as we watched, it was definitely worrying us that we weren’t going to clear it. As we approached the Skyway, it was raining a bit, but after we cleared it, it was beautiful weather, and we even got a surprise! A rainbow that looked like it was ending on the apex of the bridge!

Coming to the Skyway…

Going under the Skyway….

No zoom here… Just the belly of the Skyway!

Leaving Tampa Bay

Afterwards, as the sun was setting, I made my way down to the dining room and had a wonderful prime rib for supper, followed by a vanilla creme brulee for dessert. Wonderful food! Hopefully it was going to be like that all week!

I hit the casino for a bit afterwards, looking at the games and trying out the craps table. Didn’t win much there, but I didn’t put all my money in at once. I’m not one that has a gambling problem. I take a certain amount that I’m willing to lose, and I stick with it. Yes, it’s tempting to dive into the other money I have for the trip, but I just don’t do it. For this cruise, I brought along $250 for the casino. Usually I bring a little more, but I was feeling rather stingy on this front this time around. So night #1 I put down $50 and walked away with $10. Not a good night. So I headed back up to my room, got ready for bed, and took my book out on my balcony to read for a while, as the moon came up and reflected off the gulf waters. So, off to bed for a busy day tomorrow!


The Brainiac is BACK!!!

16 06 2008

Okay – back from the cruise, so keep an eye out for pictures later this week.  I have to do some adjusting on the underwater pictures because of light issues.

The cruise was nice!  Especially the craps table….  I did really well there.  More details on the cruise to come.  I’ll be posting a new port every day as I recap the whole cruise.

Right now – I’m off to take a nap!  You’re gone a week and the whole world thinks you’ve been gone all year! (I guess that’s a good thing…)

Anchors Aweigh….

7 06 2008

Okay, the Brainiac is officially going on vacation!  I’m off to the Caribbean tomorrow, so you won’t see another post until after the 15th!  It’s a working vacation for me, as I’m building up my stock portfolio, but I’ll get to have some fun while I’m at it!

See ya in a week!      🙂